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US mosque bombing suspect fatally shot: FBI

The shooting occurred about 110 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.



Oklahoma: A man wanted in the bombing of a Florida mosque was shot and killed when he brandished a weapon as agents tried to serve an arrest warrant in northwest Oklahoma, FBI officials said.

Sandlin Matthews Smith, 46, pulled out a firearm on Wednesday as federal and state law enforcement officers approached him in a field at Glass Mountain State Park and asked him to surrender, said FBI Special Agent Jeff Westcott of Jacksonville, Florida.

Westcott said agents learned late Tuesday that Smith was staying in a tent in the park, located in the rugged foothills of the Glass Mountains in northwest Oklahoma. An FBI SWAT team and other law enforcement officers blocked off the area overnight, Westcott said.

Agent Clayton Simmonds at the FBI`s Oklahoma City office said Smith was taken to a hospital in Fairview, where he was pronounced dead.

Because of the nature of the bombing, agents were concerned that there may have been an explosive device in the area, Simmonds said. Officials wanted to keep reporters away while they were processing the scene, but so far no bombs have been found, he said.

Simmonds said he didn`t think there were any other campers at the park.

Smith was facing several federal charges, including damage to religious property and possession of a destructive device, in connection with the May 10, 2010, bombing of the Islamic Centre of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville. No one was hurt in that explosion, but authorities found remnants of a crude pipe bomb at the scene, and shrapnel from the blast was found a hundred yards away.

A call to a telephone listing for Smith in Florida seeking comment wasn`t immediately returned Wednesday night.

The centre issued a statement commending law enforcement officers` diligence in finding the person responsible for the blast.

"The membership and constituents of the Islamic Centre of Northeast Florida join all citizens of goodwill in Jacksonville to express their relief that any threat posed by the person suspected in the bombing of the Islamic Centre has ceased as well as convey their regret that any lives were lost," the statement read.

The shooting occurred about 110 miles (177 kilometres) northwest of Oklahoma City in a sparsely populated area of Major County.

Simmonds said it`s unclear why Smith was in Oklahoma. He said the shooting still was being investigated.

"I`m not at liberty to say who fired on him," Simmonds said.

Bureau Report

From Zee News

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